Monsanto Introduces Newest Herbicide-Resistant Crop

Most who know about the genetically modified food debate are familiar with the words Roundup Ready, a brand name of crops resistant to certain herbicides licensed by Monsanto. Soon, a new word will be on the tongues of farmers, scientists, and food industry experts: dicamba. By 2014, Monsanto’s Dicamba Soybean should have approval by the USDA for widespread use, and following that, Monsanto plans to introduce a varieties of cotton and corn using the same technology.

Dicamba is an herbicide used to control over 95 types of weeds. Monsanto created genetically modified Dicamba Soybeans to be resistant to this herbicide, ensuring their healthy growth without interference from other plants.

Dicamba-resistant crops represent the next generation of agriculture to grow in the breadbasket of the world. Where Roundup Ready, or glyphosate tolerant, crops used to be enough to manage weeds in fields, the chemical now has a weaker impact as weeds have adapted to resist the herbicide.

“Glyphosate is as important to world agriculture as penicillin is to human health,” said Dr. Stephen Powles, in a 2007 issue of Science. The article called this relationship “the love affair between farmers and glyphosate.” But in the same way that bacteria are now becoming resistant to antibiotics and creating superbugs, weeds have evolved to become resistant to glyphosate, and so newer, more powerful chemicals like dicamba are now necessary. Not only are they more powerful, but farmers also must stack several pesticides and herbicides in a system of multiple applications at different times for their crops to thrive.

Dicamba has been on the market for decades, but Monsanto is just now obtaining the licenses to sell Dicamba-resistant seeds. It could signal the switch between Roundup/glyphosate crops and crops adapted for dicamba and other herbicides like 2, 4-D.

One concern with dicamba is that it easily moves off-site from its intended crop, effectively killing any plant upon which it lands. Windy conditions and poor application techniques exacerbate this condition. Chemical companies are in the process of developing different formulas to combat this problem.

Is this new development in agriculture warranted? Is it safe?

Unfortunately, the answer to those questions may be different. The comments posted under the official petition submitted to the Department of Agriculture show somewhat the division between public health concerns and the agriculture industry.

Maria Concilio’s comment that “Not needed, not wanted, toxic herbicides in conjunction with genetic modification of our seed crops is abhorrent and unnecessary,” is not entirely true. Toxic chemicals may not be wanted, but are they needed in order for American crops to survive? Has the agriculture industry in essence created a monster, and now a bigger monster, that they need to fight the original one?

“I am a small farmer in north central Kansas (850 acres). It is extremely important to my operation’s survival that we continue to support advanced technology which will allow me to remain competitive with other countries. Undue delay and red tape in the approval process only gives my competitors an advantage which it may not be possible to overcome,” wrote Paul Wilson.

Another comment that “The addition of Dicamba to the box of tools is also necessary to keep control of weeds as they evolve and become resistant to older technologies. Without these technologies we will begin to see a decline in the amount of food the world can supply,” by Ryan Kysar, a farmer in South Dakota.

But a video posted on begs to differ, with a succinct remark by Troy Roush, an Indiana farmer: “I’m not against technology. I am against the unregulated release of this technology. We need to slow down, assess all the risks associated with this stuff, and make informed, rational choices and decisions.”

Opponents are encouraged to contact USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack or sign a petition against the approval, like one posted on the Pesticide Action Network. Monsanto’s Dicamba-Tolerant Genetically Engineered Soybean is expected to be approved by the USDA in 2014 and in use by 2015.

Also Read:
Up to 70% of Food on Supermarket Shelves is Genetically Modified

Four Simple Tips on Avoiding GMOs

10 Ways to Take Action Against Monsanto

by Sarah Shultz, for Diets in Review


Violet Sunderland

Continued: they haven't proved to do so and the organisms killed will never just magically reappear meaning that a return to sustainable farming on polluted land will probably not be possible in the short term. Is anyone addressing what to do with the superbugs and superweeds that Mother Nature has produced in response to the chemicals? Weeds so big and coarse that they damage farm machinery, they have escaped into the wild where they will add to the tinder already there to fuel wildfires. Wildlife feeds on such vegetation and will suffer the same health issues found in our domestic animals and household pets.

Mr Wilson cites competition with other countries as a reason to rush approval of dicamba. What competition? There are currently 30 countries that require GMO labeling and 20 with total or partial bans on GE crops. Both lists are growing and will continue as science advances.

Yes, Mr Ryan, there will be a decline in the amount of food the world can supply but only in those nations that continue to embrace the current GMO/pesticide proliferation. There will also be a devastating shortage of potable water due to contamination. The whole issue is on a par with the effects of nuclear energy use and waste. Between the two, we're working toward having an uninhabitable planet. But hey, if there is nothing left living on it, it won't matter.

Violet Sunderland

"The "love affair" between farmers and glyphosate" is an ill-begotten term in this instance -- competition and greed are not synonymous with love in any way, shape or form unless it's love of money. However, the comparison of glyphosate to penicillin is very apt. Penicillin was over-used and is now practically useless. It's an excellent example of not learning or heeding the lessons of past science.

As for pesticides moving off-site -- we can't ignore the reality that weather happens and that's something that can't be changed although it is already happening - for the worse and evidently by our own hand. Whether by wind or fog, what's already at ground level is going to travel and that's especially true of spray.

Maria Concilio is correct -- toxic chemicals are not needed in order for crops to survive. Toxic Frankenchemicals defeat the needs that exist for all living things whether plant or animal.

Farmers Paul Wilson and Ryan Kyser have obviously bought into the hype and mindset of the pesticide manufacturers' marketing scheme which completely ignores soil health. Of course there will be a decline in the amount of food the world can supply. It will take years and perhaps decades for contaminated soil to recover from the pesticides' runoff in order to produce crops again. Healthy soil contains worms, nematodes and other organisms that will have been killed. These pesticides are supposed to deteriorate in a relatively short period according to original info but they

kristel m.
Kristel Tingzon5 years ago

Aside from the fact that 91% of the population oppose genetically modified foods and all that the corporation Monsanto represents, The EU Bank is still to give Monsanto $40,000,000 of E.U. funds. This is a criminal act against the people! This Financial support would be better used on organic farming! We need to support small farms that will replenish the soil and use seeds that are not genetically modified . The future of our planet depends upon it! Monsanto does not need financial aid, it is a profit-making enterprise! Monsanto spent $7,100,500 defeating California's Prop 37, ONLY TO BE GRANTED PUBLIC FUNDS OF 40MILLION DOLLARS? "Monsanto would fail if it wasn't for government-sanctioned secrecy and 'too big to fail' bailouts!!! Now is the time to be angry! please sign and share the petition.

petition link:

Barbara J.
Barbara J5 years ago

The only way Monsanto will be stopped is to stop the huge contributions they give to campaigns. Too many politicians owe Monsanto. Even the Supreme court is in Monsanto's back pocket.

John S.
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you for the information.

Ana Passos
Past Member 5 years ago

Won´t they ever die??

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

Awesome NOT!

Jacqueline Fonseca

We NEED to bring this company down!!! Consumers NEED to know that they have the power to bring this company down!!! Every dollar spent, makes a choice!!! The more I can grow on my own, the less I have to support any company that's for GMOs..... Look at the revolving door between government and Monsanto. They got the go ahead for deregulation from VP George Bush, under Reagan....

Nils Lunde
PlsNoMessage se5 years ago

Thank you

Richard T.
Richard T5 years ago